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While lockdown has taken a toll on many of us, the initial welcomed reopening of the economy and businesses might actually unconsciously cause further strain on our mental health and well-being.

Perhaps many of our peers are rushing out for small parties and limited gatherings with friends. However, the rush into these changes in the “new normal” could in fact bring us more anxiety and worry.

If you find yourself in such a situation, place your mental health first and try the following tips to soothe your unease:

  1. Stick to daily routines

If you had just found your groove during lockdown, try to maintain the routines and habits that you have created for yourself to cope with the change. 

Sticking with your habits that helped you recharge during the uncertain times of COVID-19 can help you ease back into your old lifestyle. Be it daily exercises, indulging in a book, daydreaming to your favourite playlists, chatting to your friends on the phone or baking some sweet treats, continue doing so to minimise the amount of changes going on around you.

You could also explore new ways of calming down your anxieties through meditation, podcasts, yoga or religion. This creates an opportunity to develop new hobbies or seek guidance from your peers and community leaders.

2. Control what you can change

Being out there in the open, surrounded by crowds post-lockdown might generate anxiety and unease within us. Being overly cautious and concerned about catching the virus might be detrimental to our mental health. In this case, what we can do is to control the things that we are able to. 

Keep up good hygiene practices by carrying around hand sanitisers and wet wipes. Remember not to touch your face with dirty hands (for example, after using public transport or washrooms). Take care not to mingle around with co-workers and keep a safe distance away from strangers. Always remember to change out your face mask frequently.

If your workplace allows alternative work arrangements, try requesting working from home more days in the week, in order to to help cope with this change. When possible, postpone gatherings with friends, especially if your families have elderly and young ones in the household. Always ensure you keep such gatherings small to minimise chance of asymptomatic transmission. 

3. Seek professional help if necessary

When you feel like your anxiety or feelings might be too much to handle, don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals. They would be trained to help you cope with what you are going through. There are counselling services in Singapore available online during this COVID-19 period that you can make use of. The National CARE Hotline (6202-6868) is available 24/7  for your convenience . It was set up by the government for people who were facing stressors due to the pandemic. 

The Singapore Association for Mental Health offers a toll-free hotline at 1800-283-7019 that you can tap on. If you are a member of a religious institution or community, they might provide private counselling services as well. If all else fails, perhaps you might find that you just needed a listening ear in the form of a friend. Explore these options on the path to your wellness as the world reopens again.

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